Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Benny Carter Sessions
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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D. Davis | Southern CA | 02/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording from the early sixties, divided into two recording styles--the sassy, explosive, swinging side, and the more quiet, cool, and reflective side--represents Sarah Vaughan as a divine jazz chanteuse. Sassy swings divinely on songs like "The Lady's In Love With You," "After You've Gone," and "Great Day." The orchestrations fit the songs: they are lush and lavish; they provide simple accompaniment to a voice that itself was an instrument. Really, one must admire Sass's bravery and courage--her vocal cajones. I've noticed a trend in Vaughan's recording dossier--to sing what the Voix Grand herself sang--to sing the songs most associated with Judy Garland, and on this album they are: "The Trolley Song" (from "Meet Me In St. Louis); "What'll I Do" (Garland often performed this Irving Berlin standard); and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (again, standard fare in Garland concerts). We know Sass often performed "Over the Rainbow" (not included on this Benny Carter Sessions collection), and I can't help but feel that Vaughan perhaps gloated (and rightfully so) each time she made it her own (listen to her sing it on the Copenhagen tour in 1963--included in the two-disk collection "Sassy Swings the Tivoli"). Even Ella Fitzgerald (far more gifted than Vaughan, I would argue) had to be coaxed into recording songs like "Over the Rainbow" and "The Man That Got Away." But perhaps this is what made Sass Sass. The willingness to take what is already known, what has already been done, and make it her sassy own. This collection is marvelous. A must for any jazz fan; a must for any lover of the human voice. Vaughan herself is un Voix Grand. Listen to the swinging voice. Listen to the voice on "Solitude." Just listen.--dan"
Mary Whipple | New England | 01/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1962 and 1963, this CD features, first, a remastering of "The Explosive Side of Sarah Vaughan," no longer available as a separate CD, and then "The Lonely Hours," both recorded during the height of Vaughan's Roulette years. The two CDs create a dramatic insight into Vaughan's many talents, the "Explosive Side" featuring songs that are all uptempo and swingy, while the "Lonely Hours" features songs more full of feeling--quieter ballads which emphasize the sense of loss.
In the "Explosive Side," Vaughan is at her most upbeat, swinging with her "happy voice," totally confident and relaxed. Here one experiences her versatility with scat and improvisation, along with her interpretive abilities. The pop novelty song, "The Trolley Song," for example, becomes a song of discovery and seduction. "After You've Gone," full of scat at the beginning and faster than normal, is full of improvisation. "Garden in the Rain" is sung in an unusual swing tempo, and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" is vampy, her scat showing her full four-octave range. One of my favorites on the CD, "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die," shows great interpretation of lyrics, combined with wonderful variations in the melody.
"The Lonely Hours" features Vaughan singing less popular songs, grounding herself in the lyrics and giving them great depth of feeling. Here she is less prone to flights of musical variation designed to show off her voice, and she avoids scat almost completely in favor of thoughtful interpretation of the lyrics. The first two songs, "Great Day" and "Nobody Else But Me," both swingy, serve as the transition to the sadder songs of the album. The later melancholy songs feature numerous instrumental solos to add further to the lyrical interpretations, unlike the songs in the "Explosive Side," in which the musicians are there primarily as accompanists to Vaughan.
Among the special songs on this side are "Friendless (and Alone)," in which loneliness becomes palpable as she sings of leading a "friendless life of woe." Her famous low register adds to the sadness. "Look For Me, I'll Be Around," sung in a minor key, shows her strength, and "You're Driving Me Crazy," given a different interpretation and rhythm, becomes almost seductive. The album leads to a grand finale, with "The Man I Love," and "So Long My Love," two songs which Vaughan "sings pure," and makes her own here. An enlightening combination of two separate Vaughan moods and sets of talents, this CD shows the many sides of Vaughan at her peak. n Mary Whipple